Montevideo - Uruguay

Published: February 20th 2015
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Well here I sit in Villa Maria / Argentina and it is absolutely pissing down. Heavens just opened up this morning and the gods just used buckets to deliver the wet stuff to the planet. I have been lucky over the last few months regarding the weather so I am not complaining. And what does one do when it rains and nothing else can be done? Update the travel blog of course…… So let’s get started with my trip to Montevideo in Uruguay.

After Carla and I had a fantastic time in the south of Brazil, visiting some awesome places and I personally learned a lot about this part of the world, it was time to go back to Porto Alegre. Carla had a plane to catch to return to Brasilia since she had some prior commitments. So a day before her departure we arrived back in her mother’s apartment where we had an awesome dinner and I have to say that Carla’s mother was really nice and left us alone as much as possible. The next morning we all went to the airport to say goody to Carla and I can tell you it wasn’t easy to let her go. Big bad Welf can turn into a real softy if it comes to goodbyes…….

I had organised a bus to take me to Montevideo in Uruguay and this one left at 22.00 sharp. Well that is South American time sharp which meant it left about 20 minutes late…. One thing I can tell you about long distance bus travel here in South America is that they are really excellent. They are clean and the seats are real comfortable. If you spend a little bit more you get a sleeper seat which I had on this trip. And after I settled in and we took off, all the passengers were treated to a beverage of his/her choice and dinner was served; just like in an airplane flight. Winning……

The trip was pretty uneventful and there was not much to see; well it was in the middle of the night and pretty dark. At about 5 am in the morning we crossed the border into Uruguay, country #76 for me, and at 10.00 we arrived at the bus terminal in Montevideo. From there I took a local bus into the centre of the city in search of a hostel that I found pretty quickly and I took off to explore the city.

Now Uruguay is the second smallest country in South America and has a population of just over 3.3 million, which is about 1/6 of the population of Sao Paulo. And one could feel that walking around Montevideo; no high rise buildings in the centre of the city and the whole atmosphere was more relaxed and calmer. The buildings in the old part of Montevideo were in typical Spanish style. The only sad part is that a lot of these buildings were abandoned and in pretty bad shape. I was told by a Uruguayan that about 1/3 of all the old buildings belong to one developer ad they are waiting for the economy to pick up and cash in later….. How sad that everything is about money and not preserving the culture and identity. Uruguay is a relative ‘young’ country and was officially proclaimed in 1830 after the Argentinians, Brazilians, Spanish and Portuguese had a four way struggle over its independence. They love a bloody war in this part of the world. The Interesting point is that the British Empire, that always desired a piece of the action in South Amerika though never succeeded, as was the case elsewhere, was a major player in the Montevideo Conference that gave birth to Uruguay.

Anyway, let’s get on with the story.

One thing I like on the cities in South America is that all of them have amazing plazas and fantastic parks. And Montevideo is no exception. When you walked through the cobblestone streets, covered by trees and surrounded by old houses, you feel pretty much like you are in a European city. And that feeling is warranted as the people in the south of Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Chile are all very European. It’s just that they are in South America.

One of the many museums I visited was about the famous plane crash in the Andes in 1972 of flight 571. In case you are not familiar with this tragedy, in 1972 a plane with 40 passengers crashed in the Andes and from the 40 people only 16 survived. And they survived by eating the dead. Pretty horrific when you think about it; eating another human. But what would you do if you are about to die? The museum gave you a very good overview of the tragedy and one of the guides was a survivor. He spoke a really good English and it was interesting to talk to him about what happened.

The advantages off living in this technology age is that it is very easy to get in contact with likeminded people; just put on the social media that you are in town and most likely somebody will hitch up with you. And that was the case in Montevideo as well. On the second night in Montevideo I met Nicolas and he was a great guy. He went above and beyond his duty to show me his city and took me to places where normally tourists don’t go. Now most people will only see the centre of Montevideo, but will never venture to the east part of the city where you will find some amazing beaches. OK they are not as nice as they are in Florianopolis, but impressive nevertheless…. It was great fun to sit on the beach and talk about politics, philosophy and solve the problems of the world. It is one of these moments in life where you connect with people and feel a shared bond…… So thank you Nicolas for your time and be assured I appreciated every minute you spend with me.

The only thing that was missing when I was in Montevideo was one thing; Carla. I guess when you are with somebody that you treasure and really love for a couple of months and then you are suddenly on your own it leaves a big gap in your life. While it was nice to walk the streets and take it all in, you want to share it with someone. And after thinking a lot about Carla and how I felt I made the decision to catch the next flight to Brasilia to surprise Carla with my return. And that I did and I can tell you that Carla was pretty over the moon when I walked into the door of her apartment. Over the moon is an understatement…….

So the next 3 weeks I spend with her in Brasilia, just relaxing and recharging the batteries. We also organised a trip together to Buenos Aires as she really liked the city a lot and she couldn't wait showing it to me. But that is a story for the next update…….

So this is it for this time. I can highly recommend Montevideo to you and I promise you that you will not be disappointed. It is a great city with lots to see. But the best is the atmosphere….. Go for it.

Take care wherever you are and until the next update. Thank you for following me and reading my blogs. Appreciate it and please leave a comment……

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23rd February 2015

Intrigued my Montevideo
MJ here. Dave used to work with a man from Montevideo so he has always wanted to go there. I like your descriptions of the calm, relax nature of the city. I'd like to visit that flight 571 museum. Great travels.

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